Turd Traveling - Open Thread

Mon, Apr 9, 2012 - 8:13am

I am traveling today after spending the Easter weekend away with MrsF and the LTs.

I hope that by later today I will be able to post a review of the day's events as well as some updated charts. For now, this is simply an open thread. The only discussion item I have is this new post from Gonzalo Lira. Where Gonzalo excels is in forward thinking. In this piece, he alerts readers that Spain will be the next "eurozone crisis" and gets you wondering about just how this will all play out.


And I just found this interview of Uncle Ted. Please take the time to read it today.


That's all for now as we are packing things up and I can hear MrsF hollaring for me from the next room. I'd better get moving...if I know what's good for me.

More later. Have a great day. TF

About the Author

turd [at] tfmetalsreport [dot] com ()


Apr 9, 2012 - 4:34pm

Re: Irk's Postulate @I run Bartertown...

"unless you have 1,000 oz of silver, then you can't afford gold."

I guess the question I would ask is: why is gold a good investment for a person with 1K ounces of silver? Why isn't it a good investment for someone with 500 ounces... or 50?

I think the answer lies in a specific person's investment goals and tolerance for risk. I think gold is less risky over the long run, I think silver has higher upside potential. I invest 50/50 to get some of both worlds.

Apr 9, 2012 - 4:35pm

CL College Question

There is a middle class normalcy bias that children of 'professionals' go to college. So I'd say one thing is not to set that expectation for a 10 yr old. Talk around many possibilities and options. Perhaps in general conversation around the dinner table show as much respect for and interest in an excellent hairdresser, sports coach, shop owner, entrepreneur, mechanic, musician etc as the standard professions. Depending on your circle of friends, exposure to other lifestyles are not always easy. So maybe you have to help your child meet a wider cross section of society.

And, CL it's OK for you not to know. No need to make any decisions now. The world may be quite different in a few years time. Your child will ultimately have to make his/her own decisions and some will be good ones and some won't be. That's the hardest part for many of us parents.

Good luck.

Apr 9, 2012 - 4:47pm


Mine is in high school, and she is fully aware of our current situation. It's sad to burden a young person with this knowledge, but it would be far sadder to restrict her awareness.

We're focused on building capability to learn and apply new skills. Critical thinking, intelligent study of history, the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, finance, media manipulation, how to develop/maintain/use a sourdough culture, grow food, how to avoid being materialistic, ride a horse, how it came to be that in 2012 the Canadian government still sues people in the name of the Queen of England, why that same person is listed on the ownership card of all government vehicles, and why private corporations have to enter into a contract with that same head of a foreign state when selling to the Canadian government or any of its provinces. And reading, analysis, and stacking (rather than coveting fashion brands). How to play and write music. Why Pink Floyd's Animals is a more relevant commentary on our society than when it was written almost 40 years ago. Why some of the things taught in school are aged, useless, or misleading. How butter got a bad rap, and what margarine looks and smells like before they color and scent it. How war is about bankers making money. How not to be a sheeple.

Teach Your Children well. If you're on this site it means that you're a life-long learner, so don't hide your own intellectual curiosity. When it's time, they will make their own informed decisions about what to do with their lives.


Apr 9, 2012 - 4:51pm


I struggle with this question a lot, especially as I have 3 kids, two of whom will potentially be on the way to college within 3 years time.

I like the Dr. Jerome's point about a classical education. But it's a shame that we send our kids to college these days to "catch up" on that type of education. Fortunately, my kids are homeschooled, so we've taken that responsibility on ourselves rather than the public schools and ensured they get a decent classical education. From the results so far, I think it's working. My kids already know more than me on many history subjects and, due to their obsession with NCFCA debate, they are better informed and able to communicate on many subjects far better than most adults (myself included in some cases).

As much as oldest wants to go to an expensive private school, I wonder at how we will ever afford to pay $25K per year tuition plus room and board, especially considering there's another kid just 2 years behind her. I can't fathom allowing my kids to go into debt to get a college education, even at an admittedly "good" private college.

A friend of mine has a daughter going into nursing. She just got accepted to a graduate school in California for the "low" price of $30K per year (18 month program). She's already something like $20K in student debt. I can't imagine getting out of school a full $50K in the hole. I got out of school with $15K in debt and I thought that was atrocious.

Plumbers, electricians, mechanics - the trades. I really think these will be the in-demand jobs over the next 20 years. When you can't afford a new car, you'll need to hire a mechanic to fix the old one. Even if no one's hiring plumbers and electricians to build new houses, there's no shortage of old ones that need repair work. I don't see these trades going away anytime soon. And the up-front cost of a trade school or becoming an apprentice is far less than what's required to get a college degree you might never get a chance to use.

Electronic engineering and computer science were the right choices when I was in school and they've served me well. I can't fathom telling my kids to enter these professions right now, though. I imagine technology companies are going to be much leaner as people begin to spend a larger percentage of income on food and housing rather than the latest computer gadgetry.

Apr 9, 2012 - 4:57pm


Man, I struggle with this question. I have two boys, one 10 and one six, and I think all the time about what kind of future to prepare them for, and what kind of expectations to try to present.

The short answer is that I don't know how to plan for this. I can't imagine that things are going to play out in a straight line between now and the year 2020, and I have no idea where we'll end up after the twists and turns. Will college be needed? Will it be viable financially? Will there be a huge war and a draft to be avoided? No idea.

For now, I'm focused on the practical: trying to teach them concepts of saving and self-sufficiency, and teaching them practical skills like cooking, fishing, gardening and the like. And I'm investing my money now in private schooling, trusting that by giving them the best possible academic foundation in the early years, they'll have more options in the future. That's one approach; I appreciate the thoughts of others on this as well.

Apr 9, 2012 - 4:58pm

@CA Lawyer

My suggestion is that you push them towards learning Mandarin, as well as anything technical / math / science oriented where the majority of the population is not interested and /or not capable of doing the work.

I have a MA in English myself... didn't see too many want ads for Poets when I finished school so I taught myself how to code web sites. I've never been unemployed - I often have to decline gigs in fact.

Just my 2oz

Apr 9, 2012 - 4:59pm


oops - hit save twice :-)

Apr 9, 2012 - 5:15pm

Interesting News article.

I caught this bloomberg story today about espianage in american universities. What caught my attention and compelled me to flag it here is one seemingly inconsequential paragraph that struck this turdite as important.


Similarly, the bureau warned Simon that research in behavioral science by a foreign graduate student at Michigan State “might breach the security of corporate America,” she said. “We were able to find a way for the student to complete his research and still modify it in a way that took away the national security issues.”

here is the full article, but not the "full story":


Now what kind of "behavioral science research" would have "national security issues" due to the possibility of it "breaching the security of corporate America." Hmmm.

And this is incorporated into an article that talks about the theft of anti-satellite technology and such.

What is your impression?

Apr 9, 2012 - 5:27pm

California Lawyer

Teach them chemistry.... Ag, Au, Pt, Pd and Pb. I'm teaching my toddler same. I'm not into college attending now although I have one child starting in September. I would rather she travel and start a business in 1-2 years with the money college would cost. Her mother is pushing her to go. I look like the evil X for saying my opinion. Stack em and Rack em.

gearhead_24 California Lawyer
Apr 9, 2012 - 5:33pm


Got a child around the same age and interestingly I have been wondering the same thing. Fortunately our child is athletic and excellent grades. Hopium springs eternal that a partial / full scholarship will occur since normalcy bias leads me to college over a trade. Although my thoughts are starting to lean to a trade. I guess "sports" will always be in our future even if the stakes are higher (Hunger Games?).

Bottom line is we cannot predict what will happen tomorrow let alone 2 / 5 / 10 years from now. I think we can relax knowing we are asking "good" questions. Voltaire said "Judge a man by his questions, not by his answers." The answers will come in due time.

My 2 cents.


Apr 9, 2012 - 5:36pm

Voter I.D. Laws Are Racist (or something)

The fix is in folks.

US Attorney General Eric Holder's Ballot to Vote Offered to Total Stranger
Apr 9, 2012 - 5:40pm


I've had the college conversation with my grandson, who is a junior in high school. We spent an entire day on the computer looking at jobs, salaries, and the costs associated with the education required to qualify for the job. We found some professions he hadn't even thought about. I think it really opened his eyes to the fact that a college degree and tens of thousands of dollars in debt doesn't actually guarantee an excellent income. This was all spurred by the results of a H.S. vocation test he'd taken at the beginning of the school year, and the fact that his parents have been piss-poor managers of their incomes. They won't be any help in funding his education past high school...maybe $50 a month allowance, if he's lucky. We can help, but not fully finance a four-year college degree. (I've already done that twice for my kids, and once for myself, anyway.) He's freaked out by the idea of being in debt because of what he's had to suffer through thanks to his parents' debts and reckless spending.

He's a logical left-brained thinker, so that approach may not work with some kids, but it might be worth a shot. Smack 'em up the side of their heads with a bit of reality. As for the "last four years of fun"....if the rest of your life hasn't been fun, yer doin' somethin' wrong!

Apr 9, 2012 - 5:41pm


CA Lawyer, this is an excellent topic. Thanks for starting the discussion. Like Dr Jerome and Pourty, I think a classical education is important for understanding current events and formation of worldview. At the same time, kids certainly need practical skills. As the parent of a more creative type kid, that can be a challenge at times but we are trying to teach entrepreneurial skills that fit out child's interests and abilities.

Excalibur, I think, made a great point about it being ok to not know for sure, after all, how many of us actually wind up doing what we thought we would at 19 or 20, much less 10 or 15? At the same time, I think it's important to teach different ways of creating an income, which is different from much of what is taught at most colleges.

As Stephanie mentioned, college can be a great time to learn to "grow up," but to be honest I'm not sure that this generation of kids is going to have that luxury like some of us did. College is getting far too expensive to take lightly. As my kiddo would say, for some kids it's "teenage day care." Very expensive day care!

I think if a child shows some certain aptitudes, it is certainly worth it to pursue scholarship opportunities, but nothing can replace the skills and knowledge that most here in this community can teach their children!

Apr 9, 2012 - 5:53pm

Summing up our stupidity

Government Explained
Apr 9, 2012 - 5:59pm

Liberal education

I'm glad Michigan forced engineering students to study humanities. In retrospect, I remember more about that then the technical classis I took (relativistic quantum mechanics, how useful). Identiying fallacies is the MOST important thing our children should be taught. It's fun to watch the network news and list the fallacies as they are spewed.

EE and Computer Science were the fields India decided they would concentrate on, and have flooded the western world with graduates. I've never met a mechanical engineer from India, or Pakistan for that matter. ME was looked down on by EE and CS students 30 years ago. Maybe that is why there is a shortage.

Fritz California Lawyer
Apr 9, 2012 - 6:07pm

American Child Future

A couple of stable paths come to mind.

1) I travel globally. Everywhere I go welding is in demand and well compensated regardless of sophistication - even in depressed areas (valuable hard to replace stuff needs to be fixed). The time has come for young folks to regain at least one vocation. Welding is terrific. A large number of programs in most US cities starting at age 16 this is a good way to create a 'placeholder' should college not make sense at their time of graduation - or a young person has no interest in higher education.

2) The graying of the extractive resource industries is in full swing. Too many are retiring at once. This combined with a probable increasing (even if its marginal or flat) demand for stuff emanating from non developed countries makes for good work prospects. Now is the time to take a look at engineering or resource related degrees at leading programs that exist where extractive industries ALREADY PRODUCTIVELY operate. However, it will be critical to focus on those states that have good footing to make sure that their Universities can follow through on the education end. Alaska, North Dakota, Idaho, maybe Utah and maybe Colorado come to mind (I say maybe because these two states have been hit hard by constrains related to the current administration and/or hard greens).

3) Fund the youngster to go begin a business in Oman, UAE or Qatar - or just about anywhere in Southeast Asia. If the youngster is able to learn a language, has integrity, and decent organization skills then send them off. Language schools for the 'local language' to English are in high demand because most such schools are terrible. South America is also a good market for this, but you best have a trusted local individual looking out for your investment there. This is not much of an issue in the middle eastern countries mentioned, but can be in Southeast Asia.

Have fun with the conversation.

Dr G
Apr 9, 2012 - 6:08pm

Just the machines trading

Just the machines trading against themselves these days.

Fritz Doctor J
Apr 9, 2012 - 6:10pm


"Perhaps a good liberal arts education in the classics, history, grammar, logic, Latin, philosophy, rhetoric would be the best thing going."

If they must go into debt to obtain this type of an education, I would not recommend it.

Dr G
Apr 9, 2012 - 6:15pm

I brutalized myself to 13

I brutalized myself to 13 years after high school. I'm in debt up to my eyeballs. For me to do what I wanted to do, however, there wasn't any other way to get there.

I can't imagine doing anything different because each day I go to work I'm doing something that I love. I'm very blessed.

(And my college degree is a BA in English, BS in Zoology, and a minor in Humanities. My coursework was science heavy, but I chose Humanities for degrees).

Apr 9, 2012 - 6:16pm

College, again

I wonder what percentage of degree/diploma programs have been abandoned before graduation in the past 20 years.

I wonder how that would correlate to situations where the parents thought it was their job to select and pay for the program?

I wonder how that would correlate to situations where the children moved back in with the parents?

For the most part, our generation has shielded children from reality and personal accountability at precisely the wrong time in history.

S Roche
Apr 9, 2012 - 6:19pm

Early Asian Trading

Looks like Asia is waiting for Ben to not mention QE3...

This whole will he?, won't he? is a crock that every shill is now jumping on as if gold wasn't invented before QE...I even read some analysis last night that claimed QE would be bad for gold as it would signal risk-on and gold is a safe-haven trade.

They never mention US debt...well, come September they will.

Apr 9, 2012 - 6:23pm

What the heck

Watching silver on the kitco iPhone app and it has gone -.25 cents back to even 3 or 4 times since 5pm, all at once. Must be a glitch?

Apr 9, 2012 - 6:25pm

These bastards.

These bastards.

S Roche harlan07
Apr 9, 2012 - 6:26pm

@harlarno7 Silver Spread

That is the huuuuge spread the platforms charge to trade in a thin market...depending on your data supplier and where they get their feeds from some pick it up, some don't. Sometimes the algos go mad for a while when they can arbitrage the spread, makes the chart look like a scan code in the supermarket.

Be Prepared
Apr 9, 2012 - 6:44pm

CrimsonAvenger - Time to be Unconventional....


You have awakened to a new reality and you know that it is a road that will take America, and the world, through some very difficult times. The decisions you make for your sons now, as you know, are very critical to prepare them to have a solid academic understanding of the world, but also a very strong practical set of skills. No one is going to completely understand your path except you and your wife. I would suggest that you, as a family, prepare a plan that lays out your path for the next year with specific goals you intend to achieve. You should focus on farming, welding and mechanics.... Everyone may have a different take... but the ability to be good with their hands and minds will allow them to meet the challenges whatever they may be....

It's good that you're asking the question, because it's a solid start. I know this sounds crazy, but I would get rid of the TV and video games and begin to bond as a family over knowledge and activities. It will require an infinite amount of more work on your part and there are organizations that could help supplement their exposure.... like Boy Scouts, FFA, and numerous others. I hope these ideas help.... I hope you continue to ask and share here in Turdville!

Apr 9, 2012 - 7:00pm


I have 4 children and 4 degrees. LOL . Throwing a little round ball at a hitter paid for a couple of those degrees, but alas pro ball didn't pay enough and grad school didn't care if I could throw well or not. I do not believe a college education is the best investment anymore, I believe there are many ways outside the box to educate our children and prepare them for the future. If college is their choice, then so be it but there are thrifty ways to pay for it- throwing a baseball against OK state is one of them. LOL

Apr 9, 2012 - 7:10pm

@ recaptureamerica

Wondering why you suggest particularly chemistry? Are you thinking of certain skill or needed job field?

Crimson, I tease my kiddo (who is in a classical private school) that we are paying for his "college" now and it's up to him to get scholarships for real college. I too am firmly against him taking out large (or not so large) debt unless there is a really good reason.

Apr 9, 2012 - 7:19pm

College or Work

In my case it was work at 16 years of age. Got a job swinging a hammer for an old carpenter. Learned everything I could about the trade from him. Eventually becoming a journeyman. Good pay, got married, had four kids, girl, and boys x 3. Struck out on my own, with my own construction company.

Long story short - company is still prosperous the boys swing hammers and my daughter does the books with my wife and the office. Me? I golf and do a little trouble shooting.

Thing is - education is where you find it. I paid my kids enough for them to do something, but not enough for them to do nothing. They worked for it like I did. Hopefully the grandkids will have a world to grow up in.

College is great if you are going to work solely with your mind. If not, nothing wrong with the trades. Doing quality work demands quality pay. I quit school in grade 8!

Apr 9, 2012 - 7:20pm

5,057 janitors in the U.S. with Ph.D.’s, other doctorates....

Since 1985 college tuition has increased nationally by 498% compared with 115% for prices overall. Education has become a bubble.

Why Did 17 Million Students Go to College?
October 20, 2010, 9:53 am

By Richard Vedder
Two sets of information were presented to me in the last 24 hours that have dramatically reinforced my feeling that diminishing returns have set in to investments in higher education, with increasing evidence suggesting that we are in one respect “overinvesting” in the field. First, following up on information provided by former student Douglas Himes at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), my sidekick Chris Matgouranis showed me the table reproduced below (And for more see this).

Over 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees (over 8,000 of them have doctoral or professional degrees), along with over 80,000 bartenders, and over 18,000 parking lot attendants. All told, some 17,000,000 Americans with college degrees are doing jobs that the BLS says require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree.

I have long been a proponent of Charles Murray’s thesis that an increasing number of people attending college do not have the cognitive abilities or other attributes usually necessary for success at higher levels of learning. As more and more try to attend colleges, either college degrees will be watered down (something already happening I suspect) or drop-out rates will rise.

The relentless claims of the Obama administration and others that having more college graduates is necessary for continued economic leadership is incompatible with this view. Putting issues of student abilities aside, the growing disconnect between labor market realities and the propaganda of higher-education apologists is causing more and more people to graduate and take menial jobs or no job at all. This is even true at the doctoral and professional level—there are 5,057 janitors in the U.S. with Ph.D.’s, other doctorates, or professional degrees.

This week an extraordinarily interesting new study was posted on the Web site of America’s most prestigious economic-research organization, the National Bureau of Economic Research. Three highly regarded economists (one of whom has won the Nobel Prize in Economic Science) have produced “Estimating Marginal Returns to Education,” Working Paper 16474 of the NBER. After very sophisticated and elaborate analysis, the authors conclude “In general, marginal and average returns to college are not the same.” (p. 28)

In other words, even if on average, an investment in higher education yields a good, say 10 percent, rate of return, it does not follow that adding to existing investments will yield that return, partly for reasons outlined above. The authors (Pedro Carneiro, James Heckman, and Edward Vytlacil) make that point explicitly, stating “Some marginal expansions of schooling produce gains that are well below average returns, in general agreement with the analysis of Charles Murray.” (p.29)

Now it is true that college has a consumption as well as investment function. People often enjoy going to classes, just as they enjoy watching movies or taking trips. They love the socialization dimensions of schooling—particularly in this age of the country-clubization of American universities. They may improve their self-esteem by earning a college degree. Yet, at a time when resources are scarce, when American governments are running $1.3-trillion deficits, when we face huge unfunded liabilities associated with commitments made to our growing elderly population, should we be subsidizing increasingly problematic educational programs for students whose prior academic record would suggest little likelihood of academic, much less vocational, success?

I think the American people understand, albeit dimly, the logic above. Increasingly, state governments are cutting back higher-education funding, thinking it is an activity that largely confers private benefits. The pleas of university leaders and governmental officials for more and more college attendance appear to be increasingly costly and unproductive forms of special pleading by a sector that abhors transparency and performance measures.

Higher education is on the brink of big change, like it or not.

Nuclear Rocketman
Apr 9, 2012 - 7:25pm


I think it really depends on the individual. For a left-brained thinker like myself, I needed the structure of college. For those that are budding entrepreneurs, college can be a total waste of time as they are bored and don't understand why they must learn information that they won't ever use again. I thought the latest book from Robert Kiyosaki & Donald Trump, The Midas Touch, does an excellent job of discussing the attributes of successful entrepreneurs.


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